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Tiny LNAs up GPS receive sensitivity

Posted: 18 Dec 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LNA  GPS  receiver 

MAX2657/MAX2658 LNA

Maxim Integrated Products rolls out two tiny, battery-sipping LNAs, MAX2657 and MAX2658, designed for GPS-enabled applications operating in the 1,575MHz band. The LNAs combine Maxim's SiGe BiCMOS process technology and WLP expertise and improve the GPS receiver sensitivity with an ultra low 0.8dB noise figure. This is an improvement over both discrete GaAs and Phempt LNAs or highly integrated RF CMOS solutions.

Both devices consume less power than competitive solutions, and the high-linearity MAX2658 offers better in-band and out-of-band rejection than competitive devices. Suitable applications for these devices are cell phones, smart phones, PNDs, GPS-enabled fitness equipment like bicycle computers and watches, and GPS receiver modules.

Signals for GPS systems originate from low earth-orbit satellites, and are often weak and hard to receive in urban environments or locations where other signals in nearby frequency bands interfere. Also, today's low-cost single-chip GPS receivers use CMOS technology, which does not always provide the best receive sensitivity for front-end LNAs.

These RF CMOS receivers require an external LNA to boost the GPS signals as much as possible (without adding noise) in order to get a fix on the satellite signals and determine a location. This extra LNA increases both cost and size. Meanwhile, device manufacturers must minimise cost and size without sacrificing performance. It is thus no surprise that manufacturers are demanding a small, low-cost, high-performance LNA that will make a significant difference between a marginally performing GPS path or a high-performance GPS path.

Customers can expect longer battery life in their GPS end equipment because the MAX2657 uses a low 4mA (typ) operating supply current. The MAX2658 consumes only 7.7mA for high-linearity performance that exceeds the competition. When not in use, the devices have a logic-enabled shutdown mode that reduces supply current to less than 1µA.

Some customers will want to ensure the highest possible level of receive performance in the presence of in-band and out-of-band signal blockers. For these designs, the high-linearity MAX2658 will outperform other equipment in the area. Receiving the GPS signal in the presence of other blockers, the MAX2658 provides approximately 6dBm better in-band and out-of-band IIP3 for a mere 3.5mA extra supply current.


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